N’Keal Harry’s touchdown that wasn’t a touchdown last Sunday came on one of two snaps that the wideout played all game. He’s caught five passes on 10 targets for 40 yards and a touchdown (should be two) in his four contests, but eight of those targets came in his first two appearances.
Why the Patriots have been so reluctant to include the 6-foot-4, 225-pound wideout is unclear, but Josh McDaniels revealed on Tuesday that getting Harry involved will be more of a priority moving forward:
“We know he’s big and not easy to tackle, and I need to do a better job of finding ways to get him in space, get him the ball and let him have an opportunity to do those things,” McDaniels said.
In reference to the controversial play against the Chiefs last week, McDaniels hopes to build on Harry’s ability to be physical in the red zone:
“Certainly, he made a great individual effort,” McDaniels said. “He broke a tackle and had good balance there to finish the play and give us an opportunity to score. And he’s a big that’s not easy to get to the ground. So certainly, when you have players like that, it comes back to, ‘How can you get him the football in those situations?,’ understanding that there is a level of diminishing returns if you try to keep doing the same things over and over again.”
Having your most physically gifted receiver on the field for only two snaps certainly doesn’t qualify as “doing the same things over and over again”, so there’s clearly some room for growth when it comes to the Patriots’ trust in their first-round draft pick. But, based on McDaniels’ comments, it appears they’ve reached a point of desperation that will force them to throw 15 into the fire. At this point, it can’t hurt to mix things up.